Daniil Medvedev produced arguably his best performance of the year to inflict a crushing defeat upon Novak Djokovic in the Nitto ATP Finals on Wednesday. Djokovic was visibly below his best, but the Russian still had to bring his A game to get the win.
During the match, Medvedev bullied the World No. 1 into submission with his flawless defense and impeccable crosscourt backhand - two aspects Djokovic is considered to be the best in the world at.
In his post-match comments, the Russian acknowledged that Novak Djokovic wasn’t operating at his peak level, but pointed out that it was difficult to beat a ‘Big 3’ member even on their off days. The Serb on his part had no qualms about acknowledging that Medvedev was the better player on the day.
Daniil Medvedev stressed how a win over a player of Novak Djokovic’s caliber makes him ‘really happy’ going into the business end of the tournament.
“To be completely honest, I’m sure he didn’t play his best today," Medvedev said. "It happens for everybody although it happens less for them than everybody but it’s still tough to beat them even on their bad days. So still really happy about the win again and feeling good, confident right now and it also makes the difference on the tennis court."
The World No. 4 also highlighted the fact that Djokovic wasn’t up to the mark with his movement and serve. The Serb was uncharacteristically slow off the blocks and struggled to reach quite a few of Medvedev’s crushing blows.
To make matters worse, Djokovic won a meager 65% of his first serve points - a figure that is much lower than his usual high standards.
“Maybe he was a bit slow unusually somewhere, serving less good, so I knew I had to take my chances,” the Russian explained. "I think he had only one break point, so it was a great match for me.”
Always a dream come true to play Novak Djokovic: Daniil Medvedev
Daniil Medvedev later showered rich praise on Novak Djokovic, whom he considers an all-time great. The Russian even recalled his days as an eight-year-old, when he first watched the Serb play on the tour.
“I always like to play Novak, firstly because he’s one of the greatest champions in the history of our sport,” reflected Medvedev after the match. “When I was eight years I was already watching him on the TV winning Grand Slams when he was still young, so it was always a dream come true to play against him.”
The World No. 4 then recalled how Novak Djokovic was the first member of the ‘Big 3’ that he locked horns with on the tour.
“Actually, he was the first of the ‘Big Three’ that I played in my career, in Davis Cup, so always amazing memories of matches against him,” Medvedev said.Published 19 Nov 2020, 20:26 IST